Many people who are in the survival and prepping community will eventually come to the point where they realize that starting or joining a well-organized support group is a must in order to increase their chances of making it through a catastrophic event. Unfortunately after being involved in the survivalist and prepping community for the last 10 years I have never seen any other point where people are more likely to fail than get it right.
Most of the people in this community tend to be individualists and have social skills ranging from amazing to abysmal, with a disproportionate amount of people falling at the “abysmal” side of the spectrum. So getting a group together and pulling in the same direction can be pretty difficult. The goal of this series of articles will be talking about different types of groups common in prepping the current prepping community, and outlining how to start a few different types of groups in a step by step process.
Step 1: Researching groups in your local area
This step is often forgotten by a lot of people who run off with a bunch of enthusiasm and then after a few months usually fall flat on their face because of lack of time, lack of attendance, social conflicts within the group, or a host of other failure points.
When people tell me they are interested in starting a group in their area I usually recommend that they go onto Meetup.com and peruse survival forums to see if someone is already doing something similar. This will save you duplicating effort and it’ll also quickly become apparent if there are big holes that are not being covered by other groups.
Step 2: Attend some local meetings
If you’ve already looked into several local groups and found that they’re similar to what you want to do I strongly recommend attending a few of their meetings. You may not learn anything new but you will likely meet some of the local community personalities and if nothing else you will also learn from the mistakes other people may be making in how they hold meetings. Take a notebook with you and if it seems appropriate try to get contact information from anyone in the groups that you think you might want to meet in the future.
Step 3: Decide what the focus of your group will be
This is a difficult one and I recommend sitting down with a pen and paper and writing down a mission statement and a plan for what you want your group to be at the outset.
A strong vision is vital to keeping the group focused and productive and not degenerating into a social circle where people just forecast the same repeated doom and gloom message. There are a few common types of prepper groups but for most of the examples in this series of articles we will be focusing on starting a “skill based meetup group” as a farm team for a “Mutual Assistance Group,” or “MAG” for short.
The above three steps should occupy anybody who puts effort into them for at least a month. Be slow and deliberate as you go through this process and your efforts will pay dividends when things start speeding up in the “Identifying Helpers” and “Setting Schedules” phase.
The next article will detail how to choose venues, pick a first meeting topic, and advertise your meeting.